University of Minnesota system

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The University of Minnesota system is a public university system with several coordinate campuses spread throughout the U.S. state of Minnesota. It has one of the largest endowments among public universities in the U.S., and also receives annual funding from the State of Minnesota.

The university system has five primary campuses, in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Crookston, Morris, and Rochester. It used to have a campus in Waseca, but this was closed and converted into a federal prison for women. The university also operates several research facilities around the state, including some large tracts of land. The University of Minnesota Twin Cities and the Crookston, Duluth, and Morris coordinate campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).[1] The other public system of higher education in the state is the larger Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (Minnesota State system).


The flagship Twin Cities campus is by far the largest in the system, with a total enrollment of 51,853 students (undergraduate, graduate, professional, and non-degree included); Duluth reported 11,491; Crookston had 2,764; Morris had 1,896; and Rochester had 414, bringing the system-wide total to 68,418 for fall semester 2012.[2]

The colors of the university, which are used system-wide, are maroon and gold.

Twin Cities[edit]

Minneapolis Campus at night

Because of its size and several decades of history prior to the addition of other campuses, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (sometimes abbreviated UMTC or UMN) is what most people think of upon hearing "University of Minnesota".[according to whom?] It can actually be subdivided into multiple parts. Most significantly, Minneapolis and neighboring Saint Paul (actually, the suburb of Falcon Heights) each have distinct campuses. The Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses are connected via a dedicated bus transitway. The buildings on each campus are connected by a series of underground tunnels and above-ground skyways called The Gopher Way. The campus had 51,721 students enrolled for fall 2010, making it the fourth largest public university in the United States.[3]

The original University of Minnesota building in Minneapolis, 1875

The Minneapolis portion is the largest and has a number of colleges dedicated to a variety of subjects. Minneapolis' campus can be further subdivided into the East Bank (main portion) and West Bank, as the Mississippi River flows through it. Students become well-acquainted with the double-decker Washington Avenue Bridge that connects the two sections. There are a number of distinguished graduate and professional schools on the Minneapolis campus, notably the University of Minnesota Law School, Medical School, Carlson School of Management, School of Public Health, and Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. In addition, Minneapolis houses many research facilities such as The Cancer Center.

The Saint Paul campus is more focused on agriculture, though several other subjects are taught there. Due to the workings of the U of M phone system, both campuses have 612 area code (Minneapolis) telephone numbers instead of the 651 code that would be expected for the Saint Paul portion. The Minnesota State Fairgrounds is also located in Falcon Heights.

The mascot for the Twin Cities campus is Goldy the Gopher, and the sports teams are called the Minnesota Golden Gophers. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A and in the Big Ten Conference. Its women's hockey program competes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and men's program competes in the Big Ten.

Among the graduates from this campus are two former U.S. Vice Presidents, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, former NAACP president Roy Wilkins, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, several Nobel prize winners, several athletes such as Ric Flair, Kevin McHale, Dave Winfield, Patty Berg, Brock Lesnar, Curt Hennig, Shelton Benjamin, Bobby Jackson of the NBA, and composer Yanni. Folksinger Bob Dylan famously attended the University and was a part of its thriving "West Bank" music scene, but did not graduate. A wide variety of medical and technological innovations have taken place there as well. For instance, the Internet Gopher protocol was created at the Twin Cities campus. A predecessor of sorts to the World Wide Web, it was named after the school mascot.

Campus media includes the Minnesota Daily newspaper, The Wake Student Magazine, and 770 Radio K (KUOM), an AM radio station that is probably the oldest in the state.


The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) became part of the system in 1947, though the campus has a history stretching back to 1895 when it was formed as the Normal School at Duluth. Their teams are nicknamed Bulldogs. Campus media includes the KUMD-FM radio station.


The University of Minnesota Morris (UMM) joined the system in 1960 as the system's public liberal arts college. Their teams are nicknamed Cougars. Morris focuses on sustainability and diversity. The school operates an FM radio station, KUMM.


The University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) joined the university system in 1966. At that time it was known as the University of Minnesota Technical Institute at Crookston. Since 1993 the Crookston campus has offered bachelor's degrees, and it has grown to be a more comprehensive regional college campus. It is known for its focus on experiential learning and technology, and through fees each student is provided a laptop computer as part of their experience. The campus mascot is Regal the Eagle, and the athletics teams are known as the Golden Eagles.


The University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) is the newest campus of the University of Minnesota system, having been formally established in December 2006 (although the University of Minnesota has offered classes in Rochester as a satellite site since as early as 1966). The program offerings at UMR are exclusively within the areas of health science and biotechnology, the largest of which is the Bachelor of Science Health Science (BSHS) program.[4] It is currently housed in University Square in downtown Rochester, near the Mayo Clinic. Plans are being developed for a larger campus of its own. It has no NCAA athletic teams, but it does have a mascot, the Rochester Raptors.


The Waseca campus opened in 1971 but closed in 1992. Their mascot was "Ramus" the ram.[5] The University still operates an agricultural outreach program in the city. Campus buildings became part of a low-security federal prison (see Federal Correctional Institution, Waseca). During its operation it maintained a college radio station with the call letters KOWO.[5]


Presidents of the U of M
Number Name Dates
1st William Watts Folwell 1869–1884
2nd Cyrus Northrop 1884–1911
3rd George Vincent 1911–1917
4th Marion Burton 1917–1920
5th Lotus Coffman 1920–1938
6th Guy Stanton Ford 1938–1941
7th Walter Coffey 1941–1945
8th James Morrill 1945–1960
9th O. Meredith Wilson 1960–1967
10th Malcolm Moos 1967–1974
E. W. Ziebarth 1974–1974 (interim)
11th C. Peter Magrath 1974–1984
12th Kenneth H. Keller 1984–1985 (interim)
Richard J. Sauer 1988–1989 (interim)
13th Nils Hasselmo 1989–1997
14th Mark G. Yudof 1997–2002
15th Robert H. Bruininks 2002–2011
16th Eric W. Kaler 2011–2019 (incumbent)
17th Joan Gabel starting July 1, 2019

The University of Minnesota was founded in Minneapolis in 1851 as a college preparatory school, seven years prior to Minnesota's statehood. As such, the U enjoys much autonomy from other operations of the state government. The school was closed during the American Civil War, but reopened in 1867. Minneapolis businessman John Sargent Pillsbury is known today as the "Father of the University", and aided the campus through financial troubles as a regent, state senator, and governor. The Morrill Land Grant Colleges Act also helped provide funding for the U.

Folwell Hall

In 1869 the school reorganized and became an institution of higher education. William Watts Folwell served as the U's first president. An official residence known as Eastcliff has been used by six university presidents since 1958. The 20-room house, originally built by lumber baron Edward Brooks, Sr., was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

During the traditional autumn through spring year, classes are not held on Thanksgiving Day or the Friday after, and the school traditionally has an extended break covering Christmas and New Year's Day. Classes don't resume in January until the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. A week-long spring break occurs after the eighth week of the spring term, which sometimes coincides with Easter.

Sources of funding[edit]

The University of Minnesota system has one of the largest endowments among public universities in the country. As of 2007, the University of Minnesota maintained an endowment of $2.8 billion.[6] Also, as a public university, the system received an estimated $641 million from the State of Minnesota.[7] The system's total budget for FY 2006 was $2.36 billion.[8]

Additional properties[edit]

There are several other research and outreach centers across the state operated by the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities or by the university system. As of September 2004, these areas plus the campuses are spread across 28,300 acres (44 miles² or 115 km²). Other areas owned by the state and university bring this up to a total of 57,200  acres (89 miles² or 231 km²)


  1. ^ University of Minnesota Accreditation Archived 2014-05-05 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ OIR : Enrollment Headcount Data: Academic Level. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  3. ^ List of United States university campuses by enrollment
  4. ^ "Academic Programs". University of Minnesota Rochester. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06.
  5. ^ a b Karen Spilman. "Waseca Technical College records, 1967-1995". University of Minnesota Libraries.
  6. ^ University's endowment fund reaches $2.8 billion - Minnesota Daily Archived 2008-01-29 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Microsoft Word - front page.doc Archived 2008-06-25 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Budget and Finance - The University's Annual Budget

External links[edit]